Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
This is 69th Lecture on Genesis.
In the lecture, I explained the first half of Genesis 3:1.
I explained why God allowed the crafty serpent to stay in the Garden of Eden.
The ground that God used to create the serpent contained an attribute which could change into either craftiness or into wisdom depending on whether it made contact with the darkness or the light.
Since the Garden of Eden is surrounded by the light, the serpent behaved very wisely while staying in the Garden, and thus it was loved by Eve for long time.
Meanwhile, Satan kept thinking of a plan to cause Adam to commit sin.
Satan kept sending the signals of darkness into the Garden of Eden in the domain of light.
But, it was dinosaurs that accepted it.
Because of this, the dinosaurs rebelled against God, and Satan was able to gain a bit of confidence.
During the dinosaur incident, the actual target was Adam.
To tempt Adam and make him fall, Satan first approached the dinosaurs that were close to Adam and loved by Him.
However, dinosaurs were not wise.
They were very simple-minded, and they didn’t know the front from the rear.
They just kept on pushing until they got what they wanted.
And so, as they were recklessly heading to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God punished them.
After this incident, Satan began to look for a wise being.
Satan set up a plan even more craftily to bring down Adam.
Then, Satan saw that Adam’s wife, Eve, was close to the serpent.
And the serpent was very crafty.
So, Satan used the serpent as its instrument.
Of course, the serpent didn’t listen to the voice of Satan from the beginning.
Satan set the serpent as the target, and for many long years Satan sent the signal of the attributes of darkness.
Then, the serpent eventually succumbed to it.
The crafty attribute of the serpent acted like an antenna to receive the darkness that Satan sent out.
Once the serpent made a connection with Satan, it continued to accept the thoughts of Satan.
Soon, the serpent ended up truly becoming a slave to Satan.
Therefore, what the serpent said to the woman from this point on can be considered the words of Satan.
Now, Genesis 3:1 says that the serpent questioned Eve about something.
Satan approached to the woman through the serpent.
By the way, Satan didn’t approach the man, Adam, directly.
Why was that?
At that time Adam was the ruler who controlled both the First and the Second Heavens. His authority and dignity were very great.
All the beasts of the land obeyed Adam, loved Adam, and followed Adam.
Therefore, it was not an easy job for the serpent to come close to Adam directly to tempt him.
Of course, Satan’s ultimate target was Adam. But, the serpent didn’t dare come close to Adam and speak a deceiving word to his face.
Even if it had done it, Satan knew all too well that Adam would not have been easily deceived.
And so, Satan chose to deceive Adam indirectly through the woman who was loved by Adam.
Satan planned to first tempt his wife, Eve, and then to tempt Adam through her.
In the end, Adam was tempted by the one who was closest to him and who was loved most by him, and eventually he fell.
Even today, chances are that, as is often the case, many Christians receive the temptation of Satan through those who are close to them.
Many sisters-in-faith, who at one time managed good believing lives, suffer from persecution after marriage.
Many of their ‘future-husbands’ promise that they will go to church after marriage, but after they get married, they change their minds.
They even hate their wives going to church and persecute their wives.
Even in-laws and other family members hinder them from going to church.
Even though they are persecuted directly like this, as long as their family is not evangelized, they are exposed to this or that temptation within their families.
Since their unbelieving family belongs to Satan, their family receives instigation of Satan without their knowledge.
Satan tries all means to keep those who belong to God as far from their salvation as possible.
That’s why there is spiritual warfare even in a family.
For this, Jesus said in Matthew 10:35-36, “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.”
You should not interpret what He said literally.
Our Lord doesn’t bring discord to a family, nor does He make family members become enemies toward each other.
When they didn’t believe in God, they all to belonged to Satan.
Once they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they no longer become the children of the devil, but of God.
Likewise, even in a family, there is a spiritual warfare between those who belong to God and those who belong to the enemy devil and Satan; this is what the Lord talked about.
In order not to be defeated in this spiritual warfare, you should accomplish the truth in your heart.
It is because what unbelieving family members often say seems ethically plausible.
It is likely that the family may enjoy peace only if the believers yield their faith.
Eventually, using the excuse that they are seeking peace in their family, their faith becomes lukewarm.
Moreover, you should always be on the alert because there may be Satan’s temptation even though the entire family manages believing lives.
Say, a wife tells her husband what has happened in the church.
But her account contains begrudging, complaining and words against the church leaders or other brothers or sisters in faith.
She was hurt in her heart at the church, and then she complained about it as her account of ‘what happened at church’.
If her husband loves her in a fleshly way, he will agree with the wife and go along with her.
“Really? Did they do that? They should not have done so.” He echoes the wife’s words.
He doesn’t discern things correctly by the truth, but he judges others together with his wife.
In this case, strictly speaking, the husband is being incited by Satan through his wife.
If you have fleshly affection among family members or friends, then your discernment about them becomes dulled.
You tend to believe what they say and follow them.
That is why Galatians 5:24 says, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Desires can make your discernment dull, and so can the fleshly attributes of affection and passion.
Therefore, the people of Jesus Christ should possess not the fleshly passion but spiritual love.
If you are cling to fleshly affection, you may walk the path of sinners along with others. In the worse case, you may go to the way of death together with them.
Even if it seems that you may be in discord with your family, you should choose the way of life.
Only then can you lead your family into salvation.
Moreover, even when your family does the things that violate the truth as they go to church together with you, you should be able to help them realize it.
If you go along with them to please them, you will ride on the fleshly flow together.
Even though you may feel awkward for the moment, as you help them realize and discern things by the truth, and help them to ride on the spiritual flow.
However, you should not misuse what I just said.
You should not neglect your duties in your family doing the works for the church without reservation.
As a parent, child, wife, or husband, you should do what you are supposed to do.
You should look over your family spiritually, love them spiritually, and serve them with your heart.
In addition, as you lead your family who doesn’t have faith or has weak faith, you should understand them from their point of view, and help them follow you.
You must not force or intimidate them saying things like “You should not do that. If you do, you’ll go to hell. You have to do it this way…”
You must first be able to experience how happy it can make you feel to live by the word of God. Then you should be able to share that happiness with others.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now, let’s take a look what kind of words Satan used through the serpent to deceive Eve.
Genesis 3:1 says, “And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?””
If you study the words the serpent used, you can see that every word contains the intention to tempt Eve.
First off, the word you should pay attention to is “indeed.”
You should be aware that even this single word can become a baited trap.
When people want put an emphasis on what they are saying, they use a word like “indeed”.
However, in this Genesis verse, it has a totally different meaning from this.
Satan intentionally used this word to deny the fact that God has forbidden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
For example, in a conversation, one may say, “Is it really true?”
It is usually used to reconfirm what others say is true or not; however, it is also used to deny what is spoken.
It is an expression that contains a bit of doubt like, “it’s actually hard to believe what you said.”
Likewise, as Satan used the word, “Indeed,” as he asked a question to Eve, he tried to make her deny the fact that God has forbidden the tree of the knowledge.”
It was to bring confusion to the one who was asked a question.
To help you understand better, here is an allegory.
You talked to someone about something that you are 100% certain that is true.
Now, suppose the one who listens to you, asks the question “Is it indeed true?”
Not just once, but he repeats the question, “Really? Are you sure? So, indeed, it is true, huh?”
Now, how do you feel about your former certainty?”
Your confidence about the thing that you were so convinced about may begin to disappear.
As he doubts and talks about it negatively, you shrink from what was initially held to be true.
“Is what I knew really true? What if I’m wrong?” Your confidence becomes weaker and weaker.
Eventually, you may step back.
And you may say, “I will check that again.”
When Satan asked a question to Eve, he was waiting for this.
Eventually, Eve became weakened just as Satan wanted.
Then, Satan distorted what God commanded concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
God said, “You will surely die in the day you eat from it,” but Even said that God had said, “You will die.”
Those who accomplished the truth completely do not sway in any situation.
No matter what others say, truth is truth, and falsehood is falsehood.
Say, the capital city of the US is Washington D.C.
It is true, right? Is it really true?”
What about this situation; think about it.
You are in a place for an interview, and your waiting number is 30.
The interviewer asked the 1st interviewee, “What is the name of the capital city of the United States?”
Now, the 1st interviewee said, “It is New York.”
You may think, ‘The answer is wrong.’
The 2nd interviewee also said, “It is New York.”
You again think, “He got it all wrong, too.”
Now, the 3rd interviewee also said that it is New York.
You may still think the third person is also wrong.
However, number 4, 5, and 6 interviewees all continued to say that it is New York.
Now, can you be still sure that what you know is the correct answer?
Or, wouldn’t it possible to think, “Was the capital city of the US changed without my knowledge?”
Now, all the 29 interviewees said it was New York, and it is finally your turn.
Here comes the question. “What is the capital city of the United States of America?”
Now, can you answer the question with confidence and say it is Washington DC?
Do you think, “Of course, I could!”?
Most of people can’t do so.
Even though they were sure of something in the beginning, when many others says it is wrong, they lose confidence and they even doubt it.
It is because they have a self seeking and deceiful heart.
They think, “What if I face some sort of loss if I insist differently from the others? Am I not going to be estranged from the others or disregarded?”
Then, even though they know it is wrong, chances are that they take others’ side.
The children that God the Father wants to acquire are those who don’t have this deceitfulness of heart at all; they are those who can be truthful in any given situation.
Father God is pleased with those who have an upright heart to choose the truth even in a life-threatening situation.
You should not misunderstand this, either.
If you are in a situation when both options are good, you’d better keep the peace even if your idea looks better.
Even if you choose the second best option, it is still better to keep the peace than choosing the best option.
Actually, it is the best way.
However, your heart should not sway with what is not true; false, unrighteousness, and unlawlessness.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Those who are honest don’t say, “Truly” or “Honestly.”
If they make a confession of love for someone, “I really love you.”
They just say, “I love you,” and it is enough.
Since the word they speak itself is true, they don’t need to add, ‘truly,’ or ‘honestly.’
If you read the Gospel of John, however, you may find many verses that our Jesus said “Truly truly.”
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, such a verse is not found.
There are verses which have ‘truly’ just once in a sentence.
The word, ‘truly’ is used twice in a sentence reflects the personality of Apostle John.
Apostle John was desperate to put great emphasis on the word of Jesus, and it was reflected.
On the other hand, the reason Satan used the word ‘indeed’ was far from the original meaning of the word ‘indeed’; it is not to emphasize or to agree with the word of God.
Satan intentionally used the word ‘indeed’ to make Eve deny the word of God.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The next word you should pay attention to is the word, ‘you.’
In the conversation with Eve, the serpent used the plural form of ‘you’ as is indicated from the response of Eve in the verse 2.
It implies that the serpent made not only Eve, but also Adam, his target.
Eventually, this word contains the intention of Satan to put Adam into temptation as well.
In addition, the fact that the serpent used the plural forms of ‘you’ explains that the serpent already knew that God forbade not only Eve but also Adam from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And as he used the plural form of ‘you,’ he intended for Eve to speak for Adam as well.
That is, even though Eve replied with her own thoughts, it carries the intent that Adam’s thought would be also the same.
It is because the plural form of ‘you’ already included Adam.
Therefore, the reply of Eve could become the reply of both of Adam and Eve.
Eve didn’t notice this intention of the serpent.
The serpent knew about it, and he made the reply of the woman become a snare to Adam.
Those who are truthful and keep their place are not deceived by even such a single word.
Let’s say, you want to receive a mission group’s opinion about a certain item.
Now, you got a call from the assistant leader of the group.
Since you are extremely busy, and it was hard to make a contact with the leader of the group, you ask the assistant leader instead of the leader.
In this case, chances are that the assistant leader will respond with his personal opinion.
However, his opinion could be understood to be the opinion of the entire group.
Even though it may be the opinion that all the members of the group agreed with, it must be the group leader who officially announces it.
If the assistant leader was truthful and he was the man who keeps his place, he wouldn’t announce the opinion of the group carelessly.
Even if he knows it, he should not make it public, but instead he should say, “I will ask my group leader.”
Even if it is urgent, he will first get the permission of the group leader and announce it.
Likewise, those who are pure in heart will not miss even a single word, but filter it out.
However, Eve didn’t receive human cultivation, and thus she didn’t catch the evil intention which was hidden in the word that Satan spoke through the serpent.
Moreover, she was close to the serpent, and so she relaxed her guard when she talked with the serpent.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Now, we have to pay attention to the next word, ‘any.’
The serpent said to the woman, “has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
What did God say about the tree?
Genesis 2:16-17 says, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.””
God allowed them to eat freely from any tree of the Garden, but forbade them from eating only from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The serpent knew about this.
Therefore, if it had to confirm the fact, it coud have said, “has God said, ‘You shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’?”
However, the serpent said, “has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
The reason it said so was that it wanted to make Eve confused.
It gave bait to her.
If the serpent had said, “Has God said ‘You shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’?”, Eve must have said, “That’s right.”
Then, it could have nothing to deceive Eve with.
If the serpent said, “Has God said ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”, what would happen?
It would make her think, “That’s not what I heard.”
The serpent knew it, and distorted the fact craftily, and induced her to think negatively.
Let me tell you a story to help you understand better.
A son and his mother went to a swimming pool.
The mother warned her son never to swim in the deep in the pool.
The son obeyed his mother; he didn’t go to the deeper water, but played in a shallow water.
Now, there was an evil man; he wanted to hurt the son and tried to make him go to the deep water.
If the evil man had said to the boy, “Let’s swim in the deep water,” would the boy listen to him?
The son would say, “My mother told me never to swim in deep water.”
Then, the evil man couldn’t have talked to him any longer.
Now, the evil said to the boy, “Did your mother truly tell you never to swim in the water?”
Then, the boy would give him a negative answer.
It’s because his mother didn’t tell him never to swim in the water.
He might add his own thought and say, “My mother said it would be alright to swim in shallow water.”
Then, the evil could say, “It’s OK to swim in the deep water. Your mother just wanted you to be careful. It is much more fun in the deep water than in the shallow water.” He might deceive the boy like this.
Likewise, the serpent knew what kind of question it had to ask to Eve to get the answer they way it wanted.
Among the words people tend to use like a habbit is the word, ‘any.’
It contains the meaning of ‘all, everything, everyone.’
In fact, it is not ‘all,’ but people use the word ‘all’ or ‘every’ to emphasize or exaggerate the fact.
For example, someone is late for lunch, and he finds only a little bit of food left, and then he may say, “You ate them all.”
He may add another sentence to emphasize the situation, like, “Nothing’s left for me.”
It may reveal that he is dissatisfied, and it may make others feel uneasy.
Because of this trivial expression, people on the spot could have ill feelings against ach other.
Those who are good and honest will not use these words recklessly.
Even if it is almost out of their lips, they stop it in their hearts.
They rather say, “Even though I’m late, you left some food for me. Did you have enough?” They rather consider others.
This kind of expression contains a heart of felling sorry, and a heart of considering others, and thus it makes others feel at ease.
One of the reasons people don’t walk the right path is that ‘All others don’t walk the right path, either.’
“All the businessman do lawlessness and adopt an expedient. What is the use if I only walk the right path?”
Satan puts this kind of thought into them, and deceive them.
However, there are people who run t he business in a righteous way and become successful.
Not all of them do lawlessness and adopt an expedient.
If someone says to you, “It’s OK to do so because all other people do so”, then I hope you can realize it is the word to induce you to the way of sinners.
In addition, there is another expression people use about a group of people or an organization; they criticize people by saying, “All of them are like this. They all act the same.”
They have ill feelings against some of a party, but pour out the ill feelings against entire members of the party.
If what they say is heard by others of the party, how much will they be hurt in their hearts?
Even though some of the party definitely did something wrong, they couldn’t stand that the entire party will be blamed, and they may talk back.
A fight between kids can easily turn into one between parents; people may have ill feelings against people in a certain area or town.
Every word people speak contains the heart of those who speak the word.
A single word makes the listeners have different idea, and the different idea brings for different action.
I hope you can remember this well, and speak only the honest and true words all the time.